Homeschool 101: Lesson plans and homeschool.
by Mindy Baca
Source: Albuquerque Homeschooling Examiner
August 17, 2009
The Albuquerque Public Schools (APS) will open their doors to students for the 2009-2010 school year in just a few days. Many homeschooling families align their calendars to APS, so that means summer vacation is over for a lot of homeschoolers as well.
Now is a good time for homeschooling moms and dads to reflect on what they hope to accomplish in the coming months, and how they can make everything run a little smoother. One way to smooth out the homeschooling process is to put together lesson plans.
In New Mexico, homeschooling families are not required to submit lesson plans to the state, so not everyone will take on this time consuming task. Many textbooks and packaged homeschool curricula provide daily lesson plans, and following their guidelines is easy enough. Other families may have a more relaxed approach to their lessons, and they might not appreciate the structure that comes with having to follow a plan.
The benefit of making up lesson plans is that it can reduce stress in the long run. It is easy to get distracted with all the little things that have to happen in a day, like checking email, cleaning up little messes or preparing meals. Then there are the “rabbit trails.” It is always nice to be able to take the time to step away from a lesson and follow the interests of your child. Going down these rabbit trails can inspire your kids to want to learn more and to develop new interests or hidden talents.
On the other hand, indulging too many rabbit trails can take you nowhere. Lesson plans, even loosely formed ones, can serve as a touchstone for parents. It is nice to wake up in the morning with a plan for the day. It is also good to be able to look at the big picture to know where you are going and how you are getting there.
An excellent framework to use in preparing lessons is the Learning Spiral. The Learning Spiral is a curriculum design tool available online at The Thinking Classroom. It is very flexible and can help homeschoolers put together “thinking centered” lessons. The Learning Spiral can be used for any subject and for any grade level. This is especially important for home educators who are homeschooling multiple age groups.
The Learning Spiral framework has five components, centered on a generative topic. The components include: learning by getting ready, learning from sources, learning by doing, learning from feedback, and learning by thinking ahead. More information about the Learning Spiral framework is located at: